475105794_8ee6d53f72.jpgWe’re guessing these people are probably OK with being called cyclists. Photo: ImageMD [7] via Flickr

I struggle a lot with the term "cyclist." It feels dishonest to use it when referring to myself, but
lord knows "biker" is all wrong, too. Although I’ve dedicated myself
to riding my bike, I don’t feel like I am really a part of the bike
community. This isn’t some sort of high school drama feeling — it’s more
that I feel too new to identify myself that way.…

For
me, riding is as much an act of advocacy as it is of pleasure. I do
enjoy riding my bike, but it’s not part of my history. Maybe I’m
a late bloomer, but I guess I’m forging that love affair only now. I
ride because I sincerely believe my riding can make a difference, no
matter how small. I ride because not only do I want my community to be
healthier and greener, but also because I tend to think that having a
progressive bike culture will lead to all kinds of other cultural
progress. Somehow I think that tolerance is woven in with a general
sense of community goodness — whatever that means.

So, finding this article [8]
[about problems between drivers and weekend groups of recreational
cyclists] headlining my local newspaper the other day really peeved me.
Now today, I saw this article [9]
[a response from a proud Lycra-wearing roadie] and I can’t decide which article peeves me most.…

If that’s what a cyclist is, or how it’s perceived by the "masses,"
I’m not sure it’s what I want to be. Bike lady is kind of nice. I
suppose I could just be a person on a bike, but that’s no fun. Any
other suggestions?

Let
us know what you think in the comments. Does nomenclature make a
difference? If you ride a bike, how do you identify yourself? Do you
care what others call you?

Related: CommuteOrlando Blog [10]
on efforts to protest a particularly hateful Facebook group that
incites drivers to hit cyclists (or people on bikes — we don’t think
the folks who run these groups make semantic distinctions).